Each clothes dryer is different, so your energy savings will probably differ from mine. In addition, the price of electricity and propane also goes up and down and differs according to region, so do your own calculations for "official" savings of line-drying as opposed to using a clothes dryer.
Here is a good online calculator to help you figure out how much money you spend per load of machine-dried clothing.
For simplicity's sake, I'm going to say that we save $0.50 per load of laundry that gets line-dried. Your yearly savings will depend on how many loads you do per week. On average, Hubs and I do about two loads of laundry every week.
1 load/wk: $0.50 ($26.00/yr)
2 loads: $1.00 ($52.00)
3 loads: $1.50 ($78.00)
4 loads: $2.00 ($104.00)
5 loads: $2.50 ($130.00)
6 loads: $3.00 ($156.00)
7 loads: $3.50 ($182.00)
8 loads: $4.00 ($208.00)
9 loads: $4.50 ($234.00)
10 loads: $5.00 ($260.00)
Obviously, the time it takes to hang out a load of pants will be much less than a load of socks. So, let's do some different calculations. I'm going to guess at how long each type of load takes to hang out.
Load of pants: $0.50 x 12 (5 minute sessions) = $6.00/hr.
Load of shirts: $0.50 x 6 (10 minute sessions) = $3.00/hr.
Load of socks & underwear: $0.50 x 3 (20 minute sessions) = $1.50/hr.
Hmm... for the most part, this activity falls below my coverline $4.00/hr. "housewife wage". That means that I'm only going to do it when I have the time, or when it's convenient (for example, when it is not raining). I know some people who hang laundry outside during the winter, but keep in mind that because of the cold, it will take even longer. Which means even less than $3.00 per hour. There's no way I'm willing to freeze for that hourly wage. So my personal yearly savings (at two loads per week) is probably less than $25.00 per year. This could be doubled if I line dried indoors, but I'm not that ambitious for a savings of only $4.00 per month.
Return On Investment
If you want to start line drying, all you will need to buy is a clothesline and clothespins. Many people already have a clothesline in their backyard, but those who don't can hang a clothesline on their porch or even indoors. I know a girl who ran a clothesline indoors almost the entire length of her double-wide trailer. The line and clothespins will last for years if you're careful, but do eventually wear out. My ROI, therefore, will be for six loads per week, over the course of five years (estimated life of the clothespins & rope).
Investment: 100 pk. of clothespins ($2.00) + clothesline rope ($10.00) = $12.00
Return: $156 per year x 5 years = $780.00
I think line drying is great for a sunny, summer day. The good news is that line drying requires no special skill. Any eight-year-old child can hang laundry. Line drying is also better for your clothes and will help them last longer.
Line drying is also a very cheap way to save a lot of money. With a $12.00 investment, you have the potential to save hundreds of dollars.
That being said, there are probably better ways to save money if you are short on time.
Til next time,